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4 Best No Annual Fee Travel Credit Cards of 2019

NerdWalletNovember 4, 2019

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Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Credit Card

on Wells Fargo's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1x-3x

Points

Intro offer

30,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card offers high rewards rates across a broad range of spending categories. Its bonus offer for new cardholders is among the best you can get for a $0 annual fee, and there's even a 0% intro APR period.

Pros

You earn 3 points per $1 spent on restaurants, gas stations, rideshare services, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals and eligible streaming services. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar. The welcome offer can slice a chunk off your next vacation cost: Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value And you get an APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.49% - 27.49% Variable APR.

Cons

Since it's an American Express card, you might encounter limited merchant acceptance outside the U.S.
  • Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $300 cash redemption value
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign currency conversion fee
  • Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points on popular streaming services
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
  • View Rates and Fees
Bank of America Travel Rewards® Credit Card

on Bank of America's website, or call (800) 211-3740

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1.5x

Points

Intro offer

25,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score
The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card is blessedly simple. You earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases. Redeem those points for travel, either by booking through the issuer or as a credit on your statement.

Pros

This card has one of the broadest definitions of travel, giving you more ways to use your points. You can also earn up to 75% more points if you’re a Preferred Rewards client. There's a nice sign-up bonus and a 0% APR period, too. And since it's a Visa card, you'll find broad acceptance overseas.

Cons

A flat-rate card means you don't earn bonus rewards for travel purchases.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR will apply
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase
Discover it® Miles

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees

on Discover's website, or call (800) 347-0264

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1.5x

Miles

Intro offer

Discover Match®

Miles

Recommended Credit Score
The Discover it® Miles offers simple flat-rate rewards, gives you control over how big your new-cardholder bonus will be, and is the rare travel card that lets you redeem your miles for cash back with no loss in value.

Pros

You earn 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for statement credit against travel purchases or for cash back. The introductory 0% APR period is one of the best in its class. And you get Discover's unique sign-up offer: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.

Cons

Discover's acceptance is limited internationally. If your travels will take you outside the U.S., bring along another card or two for backup.
  • UNLIMITED BONUS: Discover will match ALL the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. For example, if you earn 35,000 Miles, you get 70,000 Miles. That’s $700 towards travel! The more you earn, the more you get.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases - with no annual fee.
  • No Blackout Dates. Simply pay for travel purchases like airlines, hotels, rental cars, and more with your Discover it® Miles card.
  • Miles Pay You Back. Easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases. Or get cash.
  • Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • View Rates and Fees
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1.25x-10x

Points

Intro offer

20,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score
The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card offers an unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar spent. Through January 2020, you'll also earn a jaw-dropping 10 miles per dollar at Hotels.com/venture.

Pros

Miles can be redeemed for statement credit against travel purchases at a value of 1 cent per mile. There's a sign-up bonus, too: Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.

Cons

The ongoing rewards rate is lower than what some competitors offer. The 10X points available through Hotels.com/venture could make up for it, for as long as that promotion lasts.
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74% - 23.74% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • See if you qualify for a better offer with Capital One:

Other travel options

For airlines

If you fly one particular airline frequently, you're usually better off with its standard credit card than with a no-annual-fee version. Even though standard airline cards have a fee in the $95 range, they offer free checked bags, early boarding privileges and other perks that can make up the cost with only one or two trips. Still, each major airline offers a no-annual-fee card:

The American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card earns 2 AAdvantage miles per $1 spent at grocery stores and on eligible American Airlines purchases, and 1 AAdvantage mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. There's a sign-up bonus that the issuer describes this way: Earn 10,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles and receive a $50 statement credit after making $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Miles redeem for flights, upgrades, car rentals, hotel stays or vacation packages. You also save 25% on in-flight food and beverage purchases made with the card.

The Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express earns 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and on purchases made directly with Delta, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. You also get 20% off of in-flight purchases in the form of statement credit when you use your card to buy food, beverages or audio headsets. Terms apply. New cardholders are eligible for a welcome offer: Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

The United℠ TravelBank Card earns 2% back in TravelBank cash on airline tickets purchased from United and 1.5% back on all other purchases. TravelBank cash can be used toward the purchase of United flights. The card saves you 25% on in-flight food, beverages and Wi-Fi. There's also a sign-up bonus: $150 in United TravelBank cash after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

For hotels

The Hilton Honors American Express Card earns Hilton Honors Bonus Points with each eligible purchase: 7 points per dollar when spent directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Honors portfolio of brands; 5 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3 per dollar on all other purchases. It also offers a welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Marriott plans to introduce a no-annual-fee card in summer 2019, according to the issuer, Chase. The new card will be part of a refreshed suite of Marriott cards under its rewards program, which has been rebranded as Bonvoy.

For PenFed Credit Union members

The PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card is available to PenFed credit union members only, but it offers rich ongoing rewards and introductory offers. The sign-up bonus offers 25,000 bonus points by spending $2,500 in the first 90 days of account opening. The card also provides an annual travel credit and a statement credit for airport security screening programs — perks mostly found on premium travel credit cards with high annual fees.

Information about the United℠ TravelBank Card was gathered by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of this card. 

Last updated on November 4, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.